Aug. 19, 2015
Autry Denson - Running Backs Coach
On recruiting talent to Notre Dame, especially from the state of Florida…
"The most difficult part - I won't say difficult - but the biggest obstacle is just getting them here from Florida. When you grow up in Florida, you don't grow up hearing about Notre Dame, you grow up hearing about SEC. That's all you know is SEC, and you've got Florida State, ACC schools of that nature, so the biggest thing for me is making sure I get them here, and not just the recruit but also their parents. Because of what Notre Dame is, the amount of information an 18-year old is going to take in by himself on a visit, so many things will be missed. So it's important that I get him here and his parents, or whomever the decision-makers are because now they can make an educated decision. (Because) It's not just about football; it's not just about academics; it's about the accumulation of what Notre Dame is from a total standpoint."
On who recruited him to Notre Dame as a high school student-athlete and what their pitch to him was…
"Dave Roberts recruited me. It's funny because I didn't want to take the visit. I didn't know where Notre Dame was, and in my recruiting process I ended up going to (University of) Colorado the first week and had a great visit, but I got homesick. So I went home and told every coach, ‘Coach, just listen. If you are out of the state of Florida, I am not coming to you. If you are not in Georgia, I am not coming to you. So just stop recruiting me.' They (Notre Dame) kept recruiting me, as did other people, but I was very much locked in on Florida and Georgia, and what happened is Coach Roberts – and this is why I talk about benefitting from him – taught me how to see things differently. Now I see things the same way, where when kids say no to Notre Dame, they don't know what they're saying no to. Very few kids say no to Notre Dame once they know what we're about and who we are."
On Lou Holtz's influence on him…
"Coach Holtz came to my house. I was committed to Florida State and we didn't talk about football once. He stayed at my house until about midnight. He was there a long time. He was doing magic tricks, (and) we were just talking and having fun. Then, when he got ready to leave, he said ‘by the way, we'd like you to come up for a visit, you still got one left', and the rest is history. Coach Holtz is something special - he walks in the room and the whole mood changes. I've talked to him since I got this position, (and) it was just thanking him for what he taught me. I look at him, and it's not an accident that I wound up at Notre Dame; I could have gone to Florida State, but I look at my whole life, and God had positioned me for this type of opportunity."